Finding the Right Machine for You – Part 2

Note:  From time to time we like to feature guest posts from people who really know their stuff.   This post is written by Katie Wubben from Trouble Me Knot Embroidery.  Many of you may know Katie from her fabulous seminars at the DAX Shows.  Katie also sells Melco embroidery machines,  and offers training on those machines, so she knows her stuff.  You should definitely contact her if you are looking to purchase an embroidery machine. 

Part 2 of this series deals with the features a machine may offer, and how to decide what you need. 

Every embroidery machine will stitch.  There are many factors that you need to analyze to determine which capabilities you require and which ones you can let go of in light of budget.   Ask what the top running speed of the machine is, then follow that by asking what speed you can expect to fun on average and on caps.  Just because a machine is capable of 1,000 stitches per minute does not mean you can get away with that speed all the time.   If the sales person does not give a variation of speed for certain items (or at least mention one item that requires a lower production speed) they likely are not being realistic.

Next,  you need to identify what the sew area is on the machine and what hoop styles can be used with it.   I personally feel magnetic hoops are the cream of the crop and are a must in any shop stitching on blankets,  jackets or other thick items.  They are also faster and easier to use than traditional hoops you need to set tension on.   Think about what type of fabrics and items you’ll be stitching.  A quilt show will want a larger sew area than a production business hoping to run thousands of left chest polos.   If ever you want to stitch on a jacket or blanket,  you’ll want a fairly large sew area to do so with ease.

How many thread colors can the machine hold at one time?  It doesn’t seem like you’d need many,  but does any mind having more than they need?  To help determine what you will need, take a look at some of the designs you hope to stitch for the market you’ll be serving.  Nature and wildlife designs have an incredible amount of colors to achieve shading.  By identifying your market and looking at designs,  you can easily get an idea of how many colors are involved.

Also keep in mind that just because a machine doesn’t have enough spaces doesn’t mean you can’t sew the design.  You can take the time to rethread during a design; but then you’re simply selling out your sanity unless you have far more time than I do.  If you plan to only stitch left chest logos all day long in the corporate world,  maybe you don’t need a machine with as many needles as the lab at the local hospital.  The ease with which you can change these colors out is an important thing to consider as well.  Some machines require a space behind them to get to while others have you climbing on a ladder to reach them.  Look at the thread path as well.  If the threads are not protected,  they may be more likely to become tangled and cause thread breaks.

Know how the design will be communicated with the machine.  Some machines require you to save the finished file on a flash drive and physically put that in the machine while others will communicate with  a free standing computer connected by a cable.  Keep in mind, every time you need to make a size adjustment or anything of that nature you will likely need to go back to your design software and then save it again to transfer it back to the machine.  Some machines have a stitch count limit per design as their memory cannot handle very high stitch counts.  To work around this,  you would save part of the design as one file and another part as the other.   This would take additional time and that comes additional stress as well.

Another question to ask is if the machine has a computer attached to it or if it will be connected by a cable.   There are pros and cons either way.  Having a computer on a machine comes with the risk of something going wrong with the screen or the hardware in the computer and a technician being required to fix it.  That comes with cost and down time.  Knowing what type of computer requirements are needed from a computer will help you make a good purchase so that the machine runs without glitches.  You will likely need a free standing computer either way to run your design software.

Keep in mind that knowing what type of software comes with the purchase is another critical factor.  Decide what you need, then make sure your purchase includes those things.  Even if you don’t want to do all of your own digitizing,  you may want to be capable of altering the density,  pull compensation and underlay values to stitch the same design very well on multiple garments.  Also understand that auto digitizing features may be o.k. in some cases,  but manual digitizing will, almost always,  yield better, more professional results.

Last, but not least,  make sure you understand the special features and capabilities each machine has to offer.  The ability to trace the design is helpful for placement.  Being able to adjust a pressure foot may yield better results on various fabric thicknesses.  A rounded needle plate will stitch on caps easier than a flat needle plate.   I love being able to advance my design to any point within the design,  which is a feature I would not have received with a used machine,  as it was only added recently.

In the end,  the important thing is to identify your situation.   What type of products do you plan to stitch?  What type of order quantities can you expect?   What type of designs will you use?   How much time to have to invest in learning the machine?  Once you’ve answered those questions,  the goal is a decision that leaves you pleased with the outcome rather than filled with regret.

Finding the Right Machine for You – Part 1

Note:  From time to time we like to feature guest posts from people who really know their stuff.   This post is written by Katie Wubben from Trouble Me Knot Embroidery.  Many of you may know Katie from her fabulous seminars at the DAX Shows.  Katie also sells Melco embroidery machines,  and offers training on those machines, so she knows her stuff. You should definitely contact her if you are looking to purchase an embroidery machine. 

Part 1 of this series deals with the intangibles,  price, training etc,  that need to be considered when buying a machine. 

It’s a challenging concept to navigate when deciding, when, what and how you will start or add embroidery to your business.  Let me share some tips and tricks to make sure you get the right machine to fit your needs, style, budget and business.

Money Talks…

We all want to shop by price.   But that’s is not the first place to start the process.  The old saying “you get what you pay for” comes with some truth in most cases.  If you don’t get what you need and have limitations that don’t fit your business,  you’ll find yourself quickly wanting to upgrade.  This would require adding a machine or going through the process of selling the first one to get a second.  Then you have the learning curve of both machines rather than one straight from the gate.

Training…

Whether you’ve been in the embroidery business for decades or are just entering,  knowing if and what training is included with the purchase of your machine is critical.  Will you be on your own to figure things out,  or will you have to travel somewhere to get the training you need not only to run the machines smoothly,  but also to maintain the machine?  Some brands come with on-site training where the trainer comes to you and sets up your machines and trains you on your turf.  Will you need to hire a technician annually to go through the machine or will you have the tools and resources to self-maintain the machine? Beyond the machine, will you learn hooping techniques along with when to use what supplies?

Tech Support/Technicians…

Things will go wrong with any brand of machine.  It’s a mechanical device that has lots of moving parts with a human in control.   Things will happen.  When they do,  having someone that you can understand walk you through the diagnosis along with fixing it is an amazing service!  Be sure you now if tech support will come at an additional cost along with where the tech support is based.  I personally enjoy USA based tech support.   Knowing where technicians are located and what the cost to you will be should need to hire one is a critical piece of knowledge.  Maintaining your embroidery machine is just as important as changing the oil on your vehicle.   I like being able to do this myself,  but some would rather hire it done no matter the cost.   Just think about your situation and make a decision you’re comfortable with.

New vs. Used Machine..

Buying a used machine has advantages,  but be aware of what to look for and consider before making a purchase.   Ask what the stitch count is on the machine and how often it has been maintained.   I personally the best time to buy a used machine is when you have one you’re happy with and you need to add a second.  This allows you to have the background and training to run it well to know it should sound and look like.   This can be handy to avoid taking on a machine that you would otherwise not recognize the issues with.  You also will likely not receive training or tech support with a used machine not to mention the latest and greatest software on the market.   When that’s the case,  one can usually purchase these services at an additional cost.   Sometimes a seller will promise training with a used machine.  In that situation,  I recommend making a partial payment up front, and then pay the machine off once the training has been fulfilled.  Be sure to compare the price of the used machine to the new one you would purchase along with its capabilities.

On Wednesday,  in Part 2 of this series,  we’ll talk about the features an embroidery machine offers and how to decide what you need.

Understanding Sales Tax

Sales tax,  particularly in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in the case of South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc. can be a very confusing subject.   While it may be some time before that decision has an impact, understanding its potential effects could be useful for almost any business owner.  Until the full implications of the new ruling become apparent, a simple understanding of why sales tax is required and how it works can also be very helpful.

What is sales tax?

Sales tax is a retail point of purchase tax imposed by many states and cities and paid by a purchaser when a sale is made.  Some states and cities do not have a sales tax.  Most do.   Business owners,  by law,  are required to collect the sales tax and remit it to the proper organizations within the states and cities in which they are required to collect the tax.

How do you know if you’re required to collect sales tax in a particular state?

Currently, businesses are required to collect sales tax on all orders coming from states where they have a physical presence,  an office,  a factory etc.  For EnMart, for instance, that means we are currently required to charge sales tax in Michigan, Georgia, Nevada, California, Illinois and New Jersey.  With the advent of South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc. this requirement may change or expand.

What do you do with the tax once it’s collected?

Those requirements will vary by state.   Some states require submission of sales tax payments every month.   Others may require a quarterly submission.   Check with your state and local tax collection authorities to find the schedules and forms for the states in which you have to pay tax.

Is there any way to be made exempt from paying sales tax?

The methods of sales tax exemption will vary by state. Many states offer the option of a sales tax exemption form or certificate which must be completed by the purchaser and submitted to each company from which they purchase.  Companies must have the completed form for each customer who is not being charged sales tax on file in order for the exemption to be legal. Links to the sales tax exemption forms for the six states in which EnMart charges sales tax are on our Policies page.

What if I send resale certificate or other tax paperwork? 

In order to make a purchaser exempt,  the seller must have the completed sales tax exemption form designated by the collecting state on file.  In the event of an audit,  those specific forms would need to be produced,  so no other forms will do.

So,  once the completed form is on file,  I’m exempt?

Most e-commerce software programs now have an option to set customer account status to exempt them from sales tax.   So,  in general, yes,  once the completed form is on file,  your account should then be set to exempt status and no sales tax will be charged.

Time Travel Tuesday: How a Business Starts

Once upon a time,  there was a business called EnMart.   Actually,  it originally wasn’t called EnMart,  and went through a series of names before we settled on that one.  Those who have named businesses or products or children or pets know that naming things can be difficult.  Eventually,  EnMart was christened EnMart and we were on our way to what we thought was a future selling embroidery supplies.   Now,  11 years after we started,  EnMart sells embroidery supplies and sublimation supplies and quilting thread and crafting items.   Where we thought we’d be when we started is not really at all where we’ve ended up.

The odds against a business starting up and succeeding can seem daunting.  20% of small business fail in their first year.   50% will fail in five years.  Flip those stats on their head though,  and they don’t seem quite so awful.   If 20% of businesses fail in their first year,  than 80% succeed, and don’t the odds suddenly look better.   Same for the five year stat,  half of the businesses that started five years earlier are gone,  but half are still in business.   Given how optimistic you have to be to even start a business,  isn’t it likely most business owners would choose to believe they’ll be in the half that’s still around in five years?

When EnMart started,  we had no idea if the business would survive.   We had tenuous connections to the embroidery industry,  and hoped that would be enough to let us get our foot in the door.   We worked at building connections,  getting the company name out there,  creating opportunities where we could interact with the community.   As time went on,  we added sublimation,  then quilting thread,  and then craft supplies.  Each addition meant a new market to which we needed to be introduced, and a new set of rules and customers to learn.  We evolved in an effort to stay current and to take advantage of the possibilities that lay before us.

You may wonder why I’m telling you all this,  and the reason is pretty simple,  often in the hustle and bustle of building a business we forget to stop and look at where we started and acknowledge how far we’ve come.   When you started your business,  however that was done,  you probably had a dream for what it would become.   Today,  after however many years in business,  does what you see before you look anything like what you dreamed?

Starting a business is a risk,  and there will always be people who will quote you the statistics of how many businesses will fail in their first year,  or second year,  or any year at all.   The idea that seems like a surefire win may result in a business that never gets off the ground.   The idea that seems so simple you’re sure everyone has already done it might just be so simple that everyone overlooked it,  until you.   Whether your business is thriving or barely surviving,  you took a chance, and gave it a shot.   That’s worth some congratulations and a moment of contemplation.

So,  from us to you,  congratulations on taking a leap many are too scared to make.  Spend at least a moment today thinking about where you began and celebrating that fact that you’ve come as far as you have.   Always know that we’re here to help you in any way we can.   If you add our parent company into the mix,  we’ve been in the 50% that survived for 44 years now,  and we’ve got some stories and wisdom to share, so stay tuned.

 

Featured Friday: Inspiration, Information, Instruction

It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these, so for those who aren’t familiar with the concept,  “Featured Friday”  is a reincarnation of the “Friday Blog Round-Up”  which came from the EmbroideryTalk Blog and basically was a post where I linked to interesting items I’d found that I thought would be helpful to our readers.  “Featured Friday”  allows me to share all the neat stuff I find with all of you and hopefully provoke some discussion or new projects you can share with us all.

First up,  some tips on optimizing your production space for all you people who offer sublimated goods.  As we all know a well organized and regulated shop will often have a higher production rate than one that has to search for supplies,  or work in a disorganized mess.  These tips will help you get the most out of your workspace and your supplies.

Second on the list,  an introduction to a quilting technique that may seem quite familiar to some machine embroiderers.   The technique is called trapunto.  It involves two layers of fabric are embellished with hand stitching and then wool batting, cords or yarn are inserted between the two layers creating a raised surface.   The result looks very like 3D embroidery.   You can see examples of this type of work and get some instructions on creating the effect at the CME Blog.

Third at bat,  a post from Erich Campbell,  discussing that age old problem,  what to charge.   He approaches the issue from a different way in this blog post,  pointing out ways to make your embroidered product stand out or how to increase the product’s perceived value.  The approach makes a lot of sense,  and could be very helpful to those who are struggling with how to justify the prices they charge.

Fourth at the plate,  a post from Peter Shankman on why fear can be good for you.  No,  he’s not talking about fear of snakes or alligators or psycho killers approaching your shower,  he’s talking about the type of fear that stops you from giving a speech,  or approaching the new business prospect or buying that new piece of equipment.   Fear of that type,  according to Shankman,  is a sign you should go forward,  and serves to keep you sharp and focused on your goal.  It’s a good way to think about this type of fear, and may be a way to get past it,  and move toward your goals.

And finally,  just because it’s fun,  an ode to screenprinting written by Marshall Atkinson.  First it was my “Night Before Christmas” sublimation parody,  who knows what will be next.  An embroidery epic?  A rhinestone rant?

5 Tips for Better Communication With Customers

I tend to do a lot of my communicating via e-mail.  Yes,  part of that is because I’m not overly fond of talking on the phone,  but a bigger part of the reason why I resort to e-mail is because I want to have a record of what was said.  E-mail is something that can be referred back to later when I’m told,  once again,  that I never said what I actually did say.

If I had to make a guess,  I’d estimate that at least 75% of issues that occur with customers occur because someone in the conversation wasn’t listening.  Maybe the person who took the order was in a hurry.  Maybe the customer was in a bad mood and just wanted to place their order and be done with it.  Perhaps the customer wants what they want,  and what they don’t want is to take no for an answer.   There are a lot of reasons why communications can fail,  but part of your job as a decorator is to make sure they don’t.  Here are some tips to help you achieve that goal.

Tip #1: Listen – A recommendation to listen sounds basic,  and it is,  but it’s also something a lot of us don’t do well.   People tend to equate listening with being silent and not talking,  but that’s not always true.   Real listening means giving your attention to the person speaking, and not being distracted by your phone or the paperwork on your desk or the employee you can see goofing off in the next room.   Real listening requires focus,  which isn’t always an easy thing to accomplish.

Tip #2: Get It In Writing – Verbal communication is often vital in forming relationships,  but it can also be detrimental when it comes to a business collaboration.  When you’re discussing an order,  there’s often a lot of boxes that need to be checked to be sure both sides understand what’s expected. Putting things in writing,  either by using an order form, or by sending an e-mail summing up what was discussed,  helps to ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding what was agreed.

Tip 3: Question – Often times customers won’t know exactly what they want and it will be your job to help them figure that out.   One of the best ways to do that is by asking questions.   Make sure your questions are specific and build on the answers you’ve gotten previously.   The goal behind your questions is to help your customer refine their request and hopefully eventually arrive at an understanding of what it is they want and what it is you can do for them.

Tip 4: Educate – While customers often don’t know exactly what they want,  they’re equally unlikely to understand exactly what it is you can do.   Part of your job is to teach them what is and isn’t possible when it comes to the decoration techniques you offer.   Some businesses do this by having a sample book or a sample wall.   Others will simply explain,  on a case by case basis,  why what the customer wants is or isn’t possible.  Some companies create Pinterest boards to showcase work they’ve done in the past and to help potential customers generate ideas.   The method used isn’t really important,  the goal is simply to help the customer understand what can and can’t be done.

Tip 5: Be Positive – We’ve all had the day when the phone has been ringing off the hook and everyone seems to be in a bad mood and we just want everyone to go away and leave us alone.  On a day like that,  it’s easy to answer the phone with a snarl,  or to be short with a customer who wants to discuss an order,  but that’s exactly what you need to avoid.  Work to keep every interaction you have with a customer positive,  be attentive and smile,  and give the impression you have all the time in the world for whatever customer interaction needs to occur.   At the bottom of it all,  customers are the people that keep all our businesses going, so they deserve our A game every time they interact with us.

Marketing Monday: The Art of the Upsell

Everyone who’s ever sold anything has probably been told,  at one time or another,  “You have to upsell if you’re going to make money!”,  which is good advice if you’re comfortable with selling and not so great if you aren’t.   Basic selling can be difficult for those who work in creative fields,  so upselling may feel like trying to do advanced algebra when you’ve just mastered 2 + 2 = 4.  Fortunately for us all,  upselling isn’t as difficult as it seems,  and mastering the technique can bring huge benefits to your business.

First,  let’s talk about what upselling means.   Upselling is essentially convincing your customer to make a larger purchase than they had planned to make.  If the customer planned,  for instance,  to spend $50,  you can use upselling techniques to get them to spend $75.  The idea is to offer the customer such great options in such an honest and helpful way that they can’t resist purchasing based on your suggestions.

Let’s say, for example, that you own a quilt shop and primarily sell fabric.  Customers come in and buy fabric and go home and make quilts,  which is great,  but if they’re only buying fabric from you,  they’re spending money other places to get thread and needles and rotary cutters and all the other supplies and equipment they might need.  So,  start small.  Bring in some thread you really like. (This,  for instance, is a good choice.)   When your customer comes to the register with their fabric,  ask if they’ve heard about this great thread.   Talk about why you sell the thread you sell.  Pick out a color that works well with the fabric and hold them together.  Talk about how thread can add or detract from a quilt,  and how poor quality thread can ruin a quilting experience.  Don’t be pushy,  just be helpful and be an evangelist for whatever you’re offering.  Not every customer you upsell will leave with fabric and thread,  but more will leave with both than would if the thread was simply sitting on a shelf.

One thing to remember when upselling is this:  relevance.  The thing you’re upselling has to make sense with whatever the customer has already committed to buy.  Relevance is why McDonalds asks if you want fries with that burger,  or the oil change place asks if you need a new air filter.  The trick is to add value with the upsell,  giving the customer something that will enhance what they’ve already decided to purchase.

Understanding what the customer’s goals are is also important when you’re attempting to upsell.   Time can be at a premium for any business owner,  but it’s often worth taking the time to chat with customers.   Ask why they’re making the purchase they’ve already decided to make,  and what they hope it will accomplish.  Try to pinpoint any needs they have that aren’t being met,  or goals they’re pursuing with which you can help.   Yes,  doing this takes time that could be spent on other tasks,  but it will hopefully result in a bigger sale.  Upsell enough customers in this manner and the extra time more than pays for itself.

One thing to keep in mind when upselling is that the focus has to be on helping the customer,  not on generating more profit.  Pushy upselling will get the same reaction any kind of pushy sales technique does,  an unhappy customer who may not come back.  Successful upselling comes from a place of service,  you’re letting the customer know about something that will enhance their existing purchase,  not just mentioning something you want them to buy because it will increase your sales total.

Essential Stock for an Embroidery Shop

Every year,  when we do trade shows,  we always meet some newbies,  people who are just starting out and looking for advice. Often,  they’re swimming in a sea of possible equipment and supplies and mystified about what they need and what could be useful. For those starting out,  or for those who are looking to get their shop equipped with the basics,  we present this embroidery starter kit list.   This list details the items we think a well stocked shop should have.   For the purposes of this list,  I will provide the name of the product and a brief description of the reason we believe it’s an essential item.  The aim of the list is to help those who are stocking their shops get the basic items they need to do almost any embroidery job.

The List

Thread – We sell Iris UltraBrite Polyester Machine Embroidery Thread  and recommend stocking at least your core colors in large cones.   Your core colors are the colors you use regularly,  the ones you replace most often.  For most shops that’s generally between ten to twenty colors.

Stabilizer – Yes,  a shop can get by with just one type of backing,  a lot of shops do that successfully.   We recommend,  however,  taking advantage of the specialty backing options that are available.  Here’s what, in our opinion,  a well stocked shop should have when it comes to stabilizer.

  • Cutaway – A medium weight cutaway will get you through almost any situation when cutaway backing is required.   Medium weight,  when it comes to stabilizer is generally considered to be 2.5 ounces.
  • Tearaway – Two types of tearaway will generally appear in a well stocked shop.  One would be a light weight tearaway suitable for use with shirts.  The other would be heavy weight tearaway that can be used with hats.
  • Poly Mesh – Yes,  this is a lightweight cutaway,  but it’s designed to be used with lighter weight fabrics and to hold a lot of stitches.   It can greatly improve the appearance of embroidery on flimsier fabrics.
  • Adhesive Backing – A must for the times when you want to embroider items that are hard to hoop.  Can also be useful to hold stretchy or slippery fabrics in place.  Adhesive on one side topped with release paper.
  • Water Soluble – This is a topping,  but a must have if you’re embroidering anything with a pile like towels or fleece blankets.   Used to stop stitches from sinking into the fabric.

Bobbins – For commercial embroidery machines bobbins generally come in L or M sizes.  Paper sided and MagnaGlide magnetic bobbins are two popular types.  Some people prefer magnetic bobbins because they say they hold tension better.  When purchasing bobbins,  don’t forget you’ll also need bobbin cases.  Plain works with magnetic bobbins,  a no backlash spring bobbin case is often great with paper sided bobbins.

NeedlesNeedles come in sizes from 65/9 (smallest) to 90/14 (largest).  Many people use a medium size needle,  a 75/11, for most jobs.  Keep in mind that needles also come in sharp and ballpoint options.   Sharps are for thicker fabrics.  Ballpoints are great for fabrics which are more delicate and which have fibers that could tear easily.

Accessories – There are a ton of accessories out there that can be purchased,  but these are the ones that we think every shop should have.

  • Thread Clips – For clipping jump stitches and making things look nice
  • Seam Ripper – Yes,  at some point you will need one. For ripping out stitches gone wrong.
  • Cleaning/Lint Brush – You’re doing your daily machine maintenance, right?
  • Machine oil – Really,  you’re keeping the machine cleaned and lubricated, right?

The main thing to remember,  when stocking your shop,  is that there are a lot of options out there.  Trial and error might be required to find out what options work best for you.   Don’t be afraid to ask for samples or advice.  We’re always happy to help.

Why It’s Fun

youth-active-jump-happy-40815Anyone who has had anything to do with running a business knows the pain of the days when nothing about the experience is fun.   Equipment breaks.   Supplies don’t arrive in time or arrive too soon.   The customer doesn’t like the artwork you produced.   The customer has ideas that aren’t really possible unless you had a time machine and an army of shirt decorating robots.  Your price is too high.   You turn time is too long.   Your employees don’t show up.   There’s a lot of reasons why having a business can be tough day to day.   So why do we do it?

There are a lot of reasons, but,  sometimes,  it’s just because of the days when it’s fun.

Because of the days when a blogger tries a string art kit you created and likes it.    Or the day when a crafting guru does a video demo of the new Color Your Own Mug Kit that is just perfect (and positive).   It could be the day when one of your many lovely Facebook friends, unprompted,  speaks up and recommends your company or your products to another who is asking for a recommendation.

Perhaps it’s the day when someone takes some products of yours and does something totally new and awesome with them.    Or you get a note or an e-mail in which you’re told that a product you carry inspired someone to do something they’d never tried before, and the result was better than they’d ever dreamed.   It’s definitely fun the day a you get to solve a problem;  recommending a product that helps someone out of a jam and makes their life easier.

Fun is always in the mix in when new products and possibilities arrive on the dock.   Maybe you come up with a kit that could help quilt shop owners sell remnants of fabric in a fun (and adorable) way.   Or perhaps you add some markers that extend the possibility and creativity of sublimation to a new customer base.    Maybe, one day, some cuddly rag dolls show up on your dock,  and suddenly there’s a whole new range of cute with which to play.    The almost best part,  when something new shows up,  is wondering what your amazing customers will do with these new products.   The best part is finding out.

It’s certainly a good day when you can solve a problem and help someone out.   Maybe you’re at a craft or trade show answering questions for someone who is just starting out.   Perhaps you share your knowledge and expertise in Facebook groups or on Twitter.  Maybe you write a blog, or two,  where you share knowledge and information gained from years of experience.   Some days it’s just taking a minute to encourage someone who is experiencing one of the tougher aspects of being in this industry.

So,  yeah,  running a business can be tough,  and there are days when you’re going to wonder why you’re doing it and if it’s worth it.   Those days aren’t the ones that matter though.   The days that will stick in your memory are those days  when everything goes well and you feel like you’ve done good work and made a difference.  That’s when it’s fun,  and worthwhile.

We’ve told you about some of the days when running EnMart has been fun,  but we’re more interested in hearing about your best days.   What has made running your business the most fun?   Share your answer in the comments.    We look forward to hearing what you have to say.

New Products

Every once in a while I like to go through and showcase some of the new products that have been added to the website,  just in case anyone has missed something.   We have some fun and exciting new things to show you;  some great products that could be either great ways to get new business for your company,  or just things that would be a fun way to pass the time on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

The first category of new items,  as our graphic shows,  is the Pretty Twisted Craft Kits that were added in 2018.   We added three fabulous new string art kits,  Dancing DragonflySenorita Sugar Skull and No Drama Llama.  We also added Color Your Own Mug kits,  giving you the opportunity to decorate a mug that has been sublimated with an abstract design.   If fashion is your thing,  you might find our Decorate Your Own Patch Kits interesting.  These kits combine pre-made patches and pins with patches you can decorate yourself,  and also give you supplies to do the decorating.  All the Pretty Twisted Kits are designed to be fast and fun,  most can be done in a few hours,  even if you’ve never done a craft kit before.

Another fun crafting product we’ve developed is the Felting Fun Needle Felting Starter Kit.  If you’re familiar with needle felting,  this kit should be perfect for you.   It comes with everything you need to create a needle felted project,  including 10 colors of wool,  but leaves the design to your own imagination.  Felt a purse,  felt an animal,  felt whatever you like,  it’s up to you.

For those who machine embroider,  the new blankets and scarves we’re stocking would be the perfect addition.  From fleece (perfect for tailgating before the big game)  to minky (soft as a kiss,  and in baby and throw size) to scarves to keep you warm on a cold winter day,  our blanket blanks are just waiting for monograms and team logos.   The fleece blankets would be great for team booster sales.  The minky blankets, especially the baby blankets,  would be adorable when paired with a Cubbie for a lovely new baby gift.

Speaking of Cubbies,  if you’re a quilter,  you might find our Quilt-A-Cubbies intriguing.   Each Cubbie comes with a specially designed quilt pattern that is suited to the theme of the Cubbie.  Perfect for using up scraps that you’ve never been sure what to do with,  or for shops that need ideas for how to package and sell remnants and bolt ends,  the Quilt-A-Cubbies are both adorable and useful.

Finally,  don’t miss the new backing we’ve added – R2000.   It’s a cutaway that’s perfect for performance wear.  If polymesh backing doesn’t work for your production schedule or your pocketbook,  R2000 is a less expensive option that can accomplish a lot of the same goals.  We brought the backing in after having embroiderers test it and tell us how great it was for performance wear.  Since we’ve been selling it,  we’ve had even more customers tell us the exact same thing.